Social Media and photography - what works for you?
What social media outlets work for you as a photographer? What does NOT work? Where do you spend your time? I am curious how everyone else is engaging online, so please let me know your feedback in the comments section below.
I have had this blog for 2+ years now, and I have really enjoyed it, especially interacting with folks - whether they are a photographer or not. In the interest of growth (in all it’s positive forms), I have used social media to extend my reach. It’s a great enabler of relationships, and I find I am constantly learning something.
So I am curious - as far as social media goes, what tools work best for you? I have tried a lot of them, but I am curious as to your experience....so feel free to let me know. I am making the assumption that you want to drive traffic to your own website/blog as a primary goal.
Google +: Ah, the shiny new toy in the social media playground. How I like thee so far!
At first I thought “great, just one more site to mess with” but my experience thus far has completely caused me to reverse that notion. This is my favorite place as far as the social media world is concerned. I really enjoy this site, it is easy to use, there are multitudes of great photogs here, photos look great here and I have already met folks that I had previously never heard of - in other words, exactly what I am looking for! Feedback is great and I think it gives me the best of FB and Twitter without the downside - in other words, I’m hooked!
Another bonus of this site is that apart from direct links, Google Searches have always been at the top of referring sites to my blog. I think that Google+ will enable even better search results as this site matures and the user base grows. I can imagine that someone at Google would consider giving higher search results ranking to folks that are on G+ - doesn't that make sense? Plus, this site is already in the top 10 of referring sites for me, after just a few short weeks. I can see over time that it will only improve. Also, don’t forget that each photo uploaded to Google+ is dropped into a Picasa Web album (sorta their version of Flickr, it seems) so that will surely help too.
Here’s a great recent article from James Brandon over at Digital Photography School - certainly worth a read if you haven’t seen it yet.
http://bit.ly/q5kG54 Why Photographers Should Love Google+ - by James Brandon
Google+ has become the center of my social media world, in just a few weeks. I can see a future where I am not involved at all with these other sites listed below. One caveat to that statement though: different folks like to consume their media in different ways, and at different sites, so in the interest of broader reach I will have to see if it makes sense to drop the other sites completely...
See below about why I am not spending time on all the other sites, and please let me know your thoughts! I am curious what everyone else is experiencing!
Flickr: Seems like a dinosaur. There are photo groups for people in sewing circles and dogs on roofs. Really? Nothing wrong with that, but I want interesting contacts and content. I post there only for search purposes, b/c I still get fairly frequent usage requests from Flickr. However, it drives minimal traffic to my blog b/c it is essentially a self-contained community. And, who has time to comment and play the “post in groups” games? And who wants to?
500px: Great site, full of amazing photographers producing amazing photographs. I am frequently in awe of shots I see there. I get inspired there! Drives little traffic for me, but worth viewing all the amazing work. It feels a little bit like I got a free pass into the big game, with seats on the sidelines where I can see all the action up close...you know what I mean?
Twitter: I like Twitter ok, but it is so busy it feels like an ADD nightmare at times. To quote Dennis Miller: “It’s like a ferret on a double espresso”. My interactions there are limited to some photogs that I also interact with elsewhere. Not much for me there, and frankly it's very hard to keep up as it seems like a lot of noise. Limited click thru to my site. I think if you are a big name, it probably works pretty well. What about you? I post there (and FB, too) via Hootsuite, so I rarely even visit those sites anymore.
Facebook: Did I get invited to another high school reunion party? Hehe Nothing wrong with it, but it’s like Twitter in the ADD sense but with small pictures. There is just so much noise on FB. Mafia Wars or Farmville...really? One saving grace is that it does drive some traffic to the blog, so that is a small redemption. There are a lot of folks on FB, so the potential audience is huge (I underlined the word "potential" b/c reality is very different IMO). But honestly I cannot possibly keep up with all the noise there, nor do I want to. I will post there (via Hootsuite, which I love) but limit my involvement otherwise.
Others: There are several more photo-related and/or social media sites out there but in the interest of brevity I have chosen to skip over them since they seem to pale in comparison to the big ones listed above. But, would love to hear about something that I left off (HDR Spotting, StumbleUpon, etc)!
So, what are you doing, and on which sites - and most importantly, how is it working for you? I am very curious and welcome your feedback!